Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dad's Reaction To Learning His Son Passed Math

About a year ago, this British student was failing math. Seeing as a grade of C is the minimum requirement to pass a course in England, he seriously needed to turn things around. Now, if we're to read into his dad's incredible reaction, it would appear the lad got the job done.

Here's the full description from the student, who goes by ariamark on YouTube:

[A] year before this video I was at a grade F in maths and in England you need a C (pass) to basically do anything with your life, ive never been amazing academically and have struggled through out school , neither me or my dad or my teachers thought I was going to get my C , I know some of you might be saying , well an c is nothing but for me it was hard to get. please enjoy the video.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

China's Inspirational 'Basketball Girl'


This is Qian Hongyan, an 18-year-old girl who lives in China. She may seem like your average teenager, but she has a pretty unique backstory.


Qian lost both her legs in a car accident in 2000 when she was just four years old. Growing up in rural Luliang county, southwestern China's Yunnan province, her family had to improvise.

REUTERS/Chen Yawei

These pictures, taken in 2005 when Qian was just ten, show how. Qian learned to walk on her hands, using a basketball cut in half to steady herself. According to Xinhua news agency, she was dubbed "basketball girl" by locals.

REUTERS/China Daily

In 2005, after attention in the Chinese press, Qian traveled to Beijing to receive free artificial limbs at the China Rehabilitation Research Center, a center that has been providing help to the disabled in China for over 20 years. This photo, from 2007, shows her receiving a larger set of limbs after she had grown.


Xinhua reports that Qian was born to an impoverished family, and that she had to accept that when her medical treatment ended in 2007, she would not be able to continue her education with her peers. She was 11-years-old.


However, Qian found other opportunities. She joined a local swimming club for the disabled, the first of its kind in the country, sponsored by the Yunnan Provincial Federation of the Disabled.

At first, she found it difficult.

"I had to give much more than other kids when I learned to swim," Qian told China Daily in 2011. "It seemed there was no way I could float in the water. I was choked."


However, she went on to become a successful athlete, training for four hours every day. She hopes to one day win medals for her country in the Paralympic Games.


This week, she returned to the China Rehabilitation Research Center in Beijing. Now 18 years old, she is ready for her adult prosthetics.


Qian Hongyan, the so-called "basketball girl," has become something of a celebrity in China. Reports on the progress of her artificial limbs make national news. Her fame has even spread abroad, with photographs of her becoming viral sensations on Facebook.

Her success may mark the changing fortunes of China's disabled. "In the past," Her coach, Li Ke-qiang, told the BBC in 2008, "people despised the disabled. They thought they were all beggars, just asking for money."

"But now, when they see disabled swimmers like these, they can see how hard they're driving themselves. And that's a start."


Friday, October 18, 2013

10 Highest Trees of the Planet


This is a list of the 10 largest trees in the world. The exact location of the 10 tallest trees are kept secret, so the pictures of these trees almost never find. Trees are not protected by 24 hour, 7 days a week, and Because of only secretive information to tourists does not damage the infrastructure and does not interfere with the trees to grow further.

10. Mendocino Tree – 112.20 m, the U.S.

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Montgomery Woods, California , USA
Diameter: 4.19 m
In the period from December 1996 to August 2000 it was the tallest tree in the world, it was found in Montgomery Woods and Wood called Mendocino. Wood is one of dozens of similar tall trees in the grove, and has never been specifically announced the largest for protection.

9. Paradox – 112.56 m, the U.S.

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Humboldt, Rockefeller Forest, California, USA
Diameter: 3.90 m

8. Rockefeller – 112.60 m, the U.S

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Humboldt, California, USA
Diameter: the diameter of the exact unknown

7. Lauralin 112.62-m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Humboldt, South Fork Eel River, California, USA
Diameter: 4.54 m

6. Orion – 112.63 m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Redwoods, California, USA
Diameter: 4.33 m

5. The National Geographic Society – 112.71 m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Redwood Creek, California, USA
Diameter: 4.39 m
The fifth tallest tree in the world is located in Redwood Creek. In 1994, after it was found, was the tallest tree in the world until 1995.

4. Stratosphere Giant – 113.11 m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Humboldt, Rockefeller Forest, California, USA
Diameter: 5.18 m
Stratosphere Giant was once the tallest tree in the world. It was opened in July 2000 in Humboldt National Park, at the first measurement in 2000, the height of the tree 112.34 meters and it continues to grow, the height of 113.11 m was recorded in 2010. The tree is surrounded by a large number of trees of almost equal size. To avoid damage from tourism, the exact location of the tree was not disclosed to the public.

3. Icarus – 113.14 m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Redwoods, Redwood Creek inflow, California, USA
Diameter: 3.78 m
There are 1 July 2006.

2. Helios – 114.58 m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Redwoods, Redwood Creek inflow, California, USA
Diameter: 4.96 m
Helios is the highest tree in the world on June 1, 2006 to August 25, 2006. The tree has lost his title after rangers found the Hyperion on the other side of Redwood Creek tributary.
Photograph by Richard Preston and his daughter ascent with the tree in the park Humboldt.

1. Hyperion – 115.61 m

Type: Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Redwoods, Redwood Creek inflow, California, USA
Diameter: 4.84 m
Hyperion was discovered on August 25, 2006 by naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. The tree was measured, his height was 115.55 meters. The tree was found in a remote area of ​​the National and State Parks Redwood acquired in 1978. The exact location of the tree was not open to the public, because of the fear that the tourist traffic can disrupt the ecosystem of the life of a tree. The area tree is estimated at 502 square meters, and its approximate age of 700 – 800 years.

The World's Tallest Tree


April 08, 201110:34 AM

Woah, this is one very tall tree. Nine years ago, it was the tallest known plant in the world. (See if you can spot the three people, blue shirted, hanging at different points on the trunk).

Credit: Photo by James Balog

It's 369 feet high. That's about twice the size of the Statue of Liberty (minus the foundation). I like this tree. The people who discovered it have never revealed its true location, which is somewhere in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. And though it's got a nickname, "Stratosphere Giant," it is no longer the giant. It's been trumped.

After its short four-year reign as World's Tallest, two hikers, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, were deep in another section of another park, Redwood National Park (purchased in 1978 during the Carter administration) when they came across a new stand of trees, taller than anyone had ever seen before. The tallest of the tall is 379 feet 4 inches, 10 feet taller than the Giant. It's now called "Hyperion."

We have the precise measurements because after Chris and Michael announced their discovery, a team of scientists, led by Humboldt State University ecologist Steve Sillett, climbed to the top of the tree and dropped a tape down to the ground. Some things are still that simple. Steve's colleague, Jim Spickler (check out his biceps! scary), repeated the climb and brought a camera, so we can go with him. This video, which comes with dramatic music in all the right places, is, to use a much overused word, but I'll use it anyway..."awesome":

Once again, no one is telling where the new champ is located. People will want to see it, photograph it, climb it, carve little souvenirs out of it. Trees, says Steve Sillett, are not like people. They "cannot run away from paparazzi." He asked us not to even mention the nickname, "Hyperion," but I figure the nickname gives away nothing. Anyway, the Who's Biggest title keeps changing.

For example, if you like wood, Hyperion is not the biggest tree in the world. By volume, there are bigger hunks of living wood in the California forest. A REALLY big one, by volume, is this guy ...

Del Norte TitanDavid Mickelson/

According to Nalini Nadkarni, a professor at Evergreen State College, there is so much wood in this tree, called Del Norte Titan (discovered by the same Steve Sillett who climbed Hyperion), "its mass is equivalent to 15 adult blue whales, the largest animal on earth. Each year, this tree produces enough new wood to make a 90-foot-tall tree with a trunk 12 inches in diameter. If all of Del Norte Titan were cut into boards one foot wide, 12 feet long and one inch thick, the line of planks laid end to end would stretch over a hundred miles and could build 120 average-sized houses."

But nobody's going to be chopping up Del Norte Titan. Donald Trump can drool all he likes, but these 15 blue whales' worth of lumber will stay vertical somewhere in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in California, breathing like trees do, pulling CO2 out of the air and giving us back oxygen.

That's the real gift of trees. Yes, we live under roofs made of wood, surround ourselves with woody things, but — basically, what we breathe out, they breathe in.

As the poet Bill Yake writes:

Trees are our lungs turned inside out
& inhale our visible chilled breath.

Our lungs are trees turned inside out
& inhale their clear exhalations.
Some things are still that simple.

The photo collage of the Stratosphere Giant was created by photographer James Balog; Nalini Nadkarni's book on trees is "Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees (University of California Press, 2008); Bill Yake's poem is called "Inside Out."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

FBI Arrests 29 Year Old Mastermind Of Billion Dollar Internet Drug Blackmarket


DNA / October 3, 2013 / 11 Comments

If you want to buy a book online, at this point pretty much everyone goes to Right? If you want to buy shoes? Zappos. Domain name? Godaddy. An 18 year old Brazilian girl’s virginity? eBay. A one way flight to Brazil? Kayak. But where do you go if you want to anonymously buy illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, molly, LSD etc… all from the privacy and comfort of a web browser? Well, up until 3:15pm on Wednesday October 2nd, for all these illicit purchases and more you could have gone to a website called SilkRoad.

What happened Wednesday at 3:15pm? After months of painstaking investigation, the FBI swooped in and arrested the long sought-after mastermind of this highly illegal anonymous drug marketplace. Who was this mastermind? Was it a secretive Russian hacker living in Moscow? A Chinese internet tycoon operating from a private yacht in international waters? Actually, it was a 29 year old American named Ross Ulbricht who operated most of his empire out of a San Francisco coffee shop. When he was arrested, he was actually using the free wifi at a public library.

This story is long, but completely insane, totally worth reading all the way through. In case you need some teasers, this story involves billions of dollars worth of drug transactions, an enormous illegal fortune made entirely out of Bitcoins, fake passports and even a couple of hitmen.

SilkRoad was founded in 2011 as an underground marketplace where internet users could buy, sell and trade illegal drugs anonymously. The reason it worked was because SilkRoad required every potential buyer and seller to use a routing service called Tor. When someone uses Tor, their IP address (geographic location) is encrypted several times over then routed all over the world to dozens of locations. Using Tor, someone could be sitting in Los Angeles but would be tracked as a zipping line that appears then disappears from one location to the next instantaneously. Tor was originally invented by the U.S. NAVY to help mask top secret messages. It has lots of legitimate uses like maintaining a journalist’s anonymous sources or keeping a business meeting extra private. Unfortunately, Tor is also perfectly suited for keeping illegal transactions totally untraceable and anonymous. That’s where SilkRoad came in and thrived.

When it was up and running, there wasn’t much of a difference between SilkRoad and eBay or craigslist. It was a website where buyers and sellers met to exchange money for goods and services. The main difference, aside from the fact that most of the products being listed were illegal, was that on SilkRoad you couldn’t simply charge a credit card or use your paypal account to complete the transaction. Instead, users traded Bitcoins. What’s a Bitcoin? That question alone probably deserves its own dedicated article on CNW, but for now all you need to understand is that Bitcoin is a completely anonymous virtual currency. The most recent value of a single Bitcoin was right around $130. So that means if you wanted to buy $250 worth of cocaine on SilkRoad, at today’s price you would need to own at least two Bitcoins.

“I love my fed-ex guy cause he’s a drug dealer and he doesn’t even know it…and he’s always on time.” – Mitch Hedberg.

Actually, SilkRoad preferred the US Postal Service over Fed-Ex, but the late great comedian Mitch Hedberg was clearly way ahead of his time with that classic line. So you’ve just spent two Bitcoins to buy $250 worth of cocaine. How were these drugs delivered? Simple. The seller would vacuum seal the package then ship it through the USPS, likely with a false return address. Ironically, the Federal government was a drug dealer and they didn’t even know it… for a while. SilkRoad would make money by taking a 10% commission on every transaction. It has been estimated that prior to being shutdown, SilkRoad was responsible for more than half of the daily trading volume of Bitcoins around the world.

It turns out, the FBI had been trying for over a year to unmask the mastermind of SilkRoad who they only knew by the internet handle “Dread Pirate Roberts“. The FBI spent thousands of hours scouring the internet trying to find traces of his potential real identity. Unfortunately for “Dread Pirate Roberts”, this internet mastermind made a few very crucial errors. First off, he accidentally used his real name and personal gmail address on at least two occasions when posting in online forums to ask questions about working with Tor and to advertise SilkRoad. The FBI was then able to subpoena some very valuable information from Google and another technology firm that ran what is called “VPN” software which was supposed to help keep Ulbricht anonymous. Through these subpoenas, the FBI was able to piece together that the vast majority of SilkRoad’s operations were being run out of a coffee shop on a quiet San Francisco street. Agents then began to track Ulbricht back and forth to the coffee shop.

Here’s where the story gets completely insane: According to the indictment documents filed today in New York, the FBI was able to determine that over the last two years, SilkRoad processed $1.2 billion dollars worth of transactions. In other words, 9.5 million Bitcoins have flowed back and forth between SilkRoad buyers and sellers. What does that mean for Ross Ulbricht personally? Over that same time period, the FBI determined that Ulbricht collected some 600,000 Bitcoins in the form of his commission. How much are 600,000 Bitcoins worth? At today’s closing price, $78 million. At yesterday’s closing price? $90 million (the price of Bitcoins dropped sharply in the wake of Ulbricht’s arrest). When Bitcoins hit an all time peak value in April 2013 of $266 per coin, his virtual collection was worth $160 million. To give you some idea of how insane the market for Bitcoins has been recently, in the fall of 2011 when SilkRoad was founded, a single Bitcoin was worth just $2.

Just to re-iterare: 29 year old Ross Ulbricht earned nearly $80 million in commissions for maintaining and operating SilkRoad over the last two years. Here’s a screenshot of his LinkedIn page:

And the story gets crazier: As if operating a billion dollar illegal online narcotics marketplace wasn’t bad enough, the FBI alleges that Ulbricht hired at least two hitmen over the last 12 months to murder people who were threatening SilkRoad and his own personal anonymity. He didn’t know it at the time, but Ulbricht was already being closely watched by the FBI when he used $150,000 worth of Bitcoins to order a murder from a hitman he met online. The target was a former SilkRoad employee called “FriendlyChemist” who was threatening to release the identities of 5000 SilkRoad users in addition to outing Ulbricht as the mastermind of the whole operation unless he received a one time payment of $500,000. Just listen to the morbid online exchanges between Ulbricht and one of the hitmen, this all went down just seven months ago, in March 2013:

“In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed… I have the following info and am waiting on getting his address…[He] lives in White Rock, British Colombia [with a] wife + 3 kids.”

The hitmen responded with a quote of: “$150,000 to $300,000 depending on how you want it done, clean or non-clean”

To which Ulbricht responded: “Don’t want to be a pain here, but the price seems high. Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k. Are the prices you quoted the best you can do? I would like this done ASAP because he is talking about releasing the info Monday.”

Finally Ulbricht accepted the $150,000 price and on the night March 31st he received the following message from his hitman: “I received the payment… We know where he is. He’ll be grabbed tonight. I’ll update you.”

And 24 hours later another message from the hitman: “Your problem has been taken care of… Rest easy because he wont be blackmailing anyone again. Ever.”

It may further shock you to know that Ross Ulbricht wasn’t sending these chilling execution orders from a dark room in a palatial San Francisco mansion. The FBI determined that when he wasn’t operating from the library or his favorite coffee shop, Ulbricht was working out of a three bedroom apartment he shared with two roommates directly across the street from the coffee shop. Those roommates knew him as “Josh”, the friendly computer programmer who paid his $1000 a month rent every month right on time, in cash. Remember, the guy was worth $80 million and simultaneously operating a business that rivals many Fortune 500 companies.

One final strange twist to this case occurred back in July 2013. FBI agents received a huge break when Canadian border control randomly chose to open and inspect a package that ended up containing several fake passports and IDs all for the same person, all addressed to Ross Ulbricht in San Francisco. Homeland security visited Ulbricht shortly thereafter with the help of the FBI. Ulbricht claimed to have no clue why or who would send him those fake IDs. Incredibly, he even used SilkRoad as a defense by claiming that hypothetically anyone could order forged identity documents “on a website called SilkRoad“.

When FBI agents arrested “Josh”, AKA “Dread Pirate Roberts”, on Tuesday, it was 3:15 in the afternoon and Ulbricht was quietly working away at his local branch of the San Francisco public library. Today his funds are being seized and SilkRoad has been shut down completely. Ulbricht faces a slew of very serious charges including attempting and possibly succeeding to commit two murders. Finally, we’d like to officially announce that from on you can buy all your drugs on CelebrityNetWorth! Kidding.

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